IWM Blog

  • Blog: Second World War

    ​​​​​​​Visual conversations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    At 8:15am on the morning of August 6 2015, in blistering heat I stood with young and old at ground zero in Hiroshima, Japan. It was a bewildering, searing moment of collective remembrance, melting in the buzz of cicadas and hum of birdsong. I photographed the sky because it was clear, blue and beautiful, as it apparently was that morning in 1945 when the atomic bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped from a United States military plane. Three days later, on August 9, ‘Fat Man’ fell on Nagasaki.
  • Blog: Conservation

    ‘Scent Related Campaign’: Ethical decision making behind the conservation of smell

    The conservation work discussed in this blog was carried out for the Transforming IWM London Project (TIWML) – the installation of new Second World War and Holocaust Galleries opening in 2021, along with new learning spaces.
  •  Mobile Film Unit car leaving MoI headquarters at Senate House London; 1940.
    Copyright: © IWM
    Blog: Film

    Ministerial Mayhem: The Control of Photography Order, 1939

    Sir Philip Hesketh-Smithers went to the folk-dancing department; Mr Pauling went to woodcuts and weaving; Mr Digby-Smith was given the Arctic circle; Mr Bentley himself, after a dizzy period in which, for a day, he directed a film about postmen, for another day filed press-cuttings from Istanbul, and for the rest of the week supervised the staff catering, found himself at length back beside his busts in charge of the men of letters.
  • Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha delivers a speech to newly called up soldiers prior to the outbreak of war.
    Copyright: © IWM
    Blog: Second World War

    An Army of Opera Lovers: The Resurrection of the Teatro di San Carlo during the Allied occupation of Naples

    On 4 November 1943, just over a month after the first Allied troops entered war-torn Naples, Lt. Peter Francis of the Royal Artillery made his first acquaintance with the ruins of the Real Teatro di San Carlo, one of the oldest and most prestigious opera houses in the world. The theatre had been closed in 1942 and it was now in a terrible state: bomb damage had blasted the foyer, debris and layers of dust covered the internal surfaces, there was no electricity or water and a German machine gun nest was still installed on its roof.
  • Blog

  • German troops marching through the main square in Lille for the ceremony of Changing the Guard.
    © IWM (Q 55206)
    Blog: France

    The occupation of northern France in the First World War

    In works on French history, the word ‘Occupation’ (often capitalised) is heavily associated with the Occupation of the Second World War, France’s ‘Dark Years’ of 1940–44. However, whilst this was and remains the defining experience of military occupation for the French, there were other instances of this phenomenon in the country’s modern history.
  • Blog: Photography

    Ben Shephard (1948-2017)

    In October of last year, staff and students at IWM heard the sad news that the historian and writer Ben Shephard had died. His contributions ranged over a number of subjects but perhaps the most groundbreaking was his study of soldiers and psychiatrists, A War of Nerves (2000).
  • Quarantine Station Australia
    Blog: Australia

    Inscribing Memory: The ‘Spanish’ flu at North Head Quarantine Station, Australia.

    North Head Quarantine Station has been a place of quarantine for those wishing to enter Australia since the 1830s. Situated on a headland to the North East of Sydney Harbour, it is ideally sited to monitor maritime and naval traffic.
  • Sergeant Conversing with Recruits
    Blog: First World War

    From Desk to Trench

    In 1917 George Elliott Dodds, a writer and editor at the Department of Information, suggested publishing a series of photographically illustrated booklets showing various war activities on the Home Front. After three years of war, the potential propaganda value of such publications for combating war weariness and maintaining domestic morale was recognised.
  • Holland House Library
    Blog: 1940s

    Addressing the ‘Myth of the Blitz’

    Much has been published about the ‘Myth of the Blitz’ in London, and how the official representation of how Londoners ‘carried on’ was often at odds with the truth of nightly looting from bombed houses, crimes committed during the blackout, homelessness and the mass burials of bomb victims.
  • Blog: Collaborative Doctoral Awards (PhD)

    Women and the Army: One Hundred Years of Progress?

    On 24 June, the National Army Museum held a conference entitled ‘Women and the Army: One Hundred Years of Progress?’ to commemorate the centenary of women’s entry into the armed forces. The conference brought together researchers as well as current servicewomen, with papers discussing women’s experiences in the military from 1917 to the present day.
  • Punjabi Volunteers
    Blog: 1940s

    ‘V’ for Victory?

    This photograph of an Indian soldier on board a troop ship to Singapore in 1941 confronts us with a familiar gesture from the Imperial War Museums archives. The soldier thrusts his head and arm through the ship’s porthole, and appropriates Churchill’s well-recognised ‘V for Victory’ symbol with the fore and middle fingers of his right hand. Incidentally, he isn’t attempting to be rude!